You study the disciplines of philosophy and art history together in order to appreciate the relationships between the two disciplines with a degree of critical awareness. In so doing you are offered a unique approach to develop skills which are now vital in a society dominated by the visual image and visual forms of communication.
You will be taught by our expert staff in your very first year, a rarity in UK art history courses.
One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. We are ranked 6th among Art History departments in the UK for research excellence and Top 20 in the UK for research excellence for Philosophy (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Our expert staff
We are a dynamic group of art historians who investigate the production and reception of images and built environment, across cultures and media, from the early modern period to the present day.
Our art history staff’s research interests include activist art, modernist art and totalitarianism, the relationship of art and science, the artistic status of body modification, expressions of societal anxiety in art, as well as architecture and urbanism.
Our courses are taught by world-class academics, and over three quarters of our philosophy research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), which puts us fifth in the UK for research outputs.
Our open-minded and enthusiastic philosophy staff have an exceptionally broad range of research interests, so whatever questions in philosophy catch hold of your imagination, there is certain to be someone you can approach to find out more.
- Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection
- Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an ongoing programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks by curators and artists, and exhibitions organised by our curatorial students
- Enjoy regular visits to London galleries, including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, as well as many independent and alternative spaces
- An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and mini-courses that help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
- Access a variety of philosophy and art history textbooks and journals in the Albert Sloman Library
Graduates equipped with an understanding of wider ethical and philosophical issues are becoming increasingly attractive to employers. Many employers want graduates with critical thinking skills who can think logically and creatively about practical problems.
Our students are in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including law, PR, journalism and the media, the Civil Service, charity work, banking, and the NHS. Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies.
Our BA Philosophy and Art History provides you with you with:
- The ability to understand all sides of a dispute objectively and without forming a premature opinion
- The ability to work in a team, taking a collaborative approach to problems
- The ability to think clearly, creatively, and self-critically
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
We also work with the university’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We focus on the existential questions of human life, and provide a critical perspective on the social, political and economic challenges we are facing today.
- Our structured programme of study trips at home and abroad takes you far afield and explores local settings
- Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK comprising over 750 original artworks and numerous key texts – and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Close examination of texts written by artists, critics, art historians and philosophers
- Subsidised gallery visits to work ‘in situ’ for each course
- Gain practical experience in curating, such as handling and installing artworks
- Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminar sessions or discussion classes
- We believe that discussion is the lifeblood of philosophy, and we try to keep our classes as small as we can for this purpose
- Assessment methods include coursework, for example essays, analysis of source material, exhibition reviews and virtual portfolios, coursework reports, oral presentations
- Written examinations are also taken for the majority of modules at the end of each academic year